So here at Table 71 we have decide to do an ultimate movie bracket for each year. What that means is that we take the Top 10 movies by Domestic Gross Sales, put in six wild cards and have them duke it out to see what will reign supreme as the top movie of the year. We seed the movies based on their Rotten Tomato score and may the best one win.
The next year we are doing is 1992. This is the first year where the two people writing this column have had an honest disagreement about who would win. That is what always these brackets fun. A good disagreement. In all honesty this is prepping us for 1994 when it wouldn’t surprise me if we end up in fisticuffs arguing about who should be the winner. But I digress. Without any further ado here are the top movies of 1992!
(1) Unforgiven vs (16) Home Alone 2
Unforgiven kicked off an era of the dark, pensive western. It was often imitated, but in the scourge of westerns that followed, none duplicated the hard edged, grim philosophy quite as well as Unforgiven. At this point in Clint Eastwoods career, he was kind of in that stage of an older guy whose prime might have passed him by. So, he played himself as an old guy whose prime had passed him by.(He would duplicate this role for the next twenty years as well, Trouble With The Curve, Million Dollar Baby, In The Line of Fire, just name any movie). The cast is absolutely outstanding and it deservedly won Best Picture in 1992 as a story of man who fought and eventually succumbed to his nature.
What are the redeeming qualities of Home Alone 2? Um it followed a wildly successful first movie so they wanted to milk it til it’s dry so they made a sequel. This movie is almost an exact replica of the first one except this time he isn’t left at home, he takes the wrong plane. That is literally the only difference. I was six years old when this movie came out and I didn’t like it back then. I watched it a few years ago and it was even worse. The only reason why it made the cut is because it was the 10 biggest films of the year. And now it is the first film that is knocked out.
(8) A League of Their Own vs (9) A Few Good Men
Both of these movies have quotes from them that are among the most famous in movie history. According to the American Film Institute the 54th most famous quote in movie history is “There’s no crying in baseball” my Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own. The same list also has “You can’t handle the truth” by Jack Nicholson at #29. One point for A Few Good Men.
Frankly that point is not needed anyways. While A League of Their Own is an okay movie and actually one of the better ones as far as baseball movies go it does not hold a candle to the brilliance of Nicholson, Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, and Kevin Bacon. The Truth and A Few Good Men moves on.
(4) Aladdin vs (13) Basic Instinct
Aladdin continues the trend of the early 90s fantastic Disney Movies. This movie was always one of my favorites growing up, and I just watched it last year and it held up very well. One more thing that isn’t mentioned enough in my opinion is that Jafar might be one of the top 3 Disney villains ever. He is so entertaining and evil that it really brings the whole movie together.
And then you have Basic Instinct. Of course what everyone remembers about this movie is Sharon Stone, and for good reason. She was so good as novelist Catherine Tramell that you were almost rooting for her to win. Michael Douglas wasn’t at his best in this movie but he was serviceable. While serviceable does mean you can make a good movie it does not mean you will advance to the next round. Aladdin and Abu go on.
(5) Malcom X vs (12) Sister Act
Malcom X was a “Spike Lee Joint” about the former public figure who was tragically killed in the height of the racial tension that was the 60s. Denzel Washington gave one of his best performances ever as Malcolm and was rightly nominated for an Academy Award. This was Spike Lee truly being Spike Lee and showing how racial issues were handled back then. His best movies all involve racial tension, and this one might be the best.
Sister Act was a movie I never really got into. I have never been the biggest Whoopie Goldberg fan and this movie wasn’t that much different. Whoopie plays a singer who witnessed a crime and must go into the witness protection program and they put her in a convent. Eh. I have no desire to watch this movie anytime soon, while Malcom X I would definitely watch. Malcolm easily advances to the Great 8 to do battle with the Genie, Iago, and the rest of the cast from Aladdin.
(2) Last of the Mohicans vs (15) The Bodyguard
Last of the Mohicans is one of those movies that doesn’t need to be celebrated because it is so damn good. You have Daniel Day-Lewis giving an average Daniel Day-Lewis performance which blows everyone else out of the water, Michael Mann doing what Michael Mann does, and a perfect supporting cast. I watched this movie when I was in high school and was just in awe of how well it was made.
Look, I'll be honest, The Bodyguard is pretty terrible. However, it’s a good kind of terrible. It has a great soundtrack, highlighted by Whitney Houston performing one of the greatest covers ever. It also has Kevin Costner trying really hard to be serious and brooding and Whitney Houston trying to act. She ended up improving as an actress (see: Waiting to Exhale), but damn was she wooden in this movie. I honestly feel like Whitney Houston told her people that she wanted to star in a movie, and they hired a screenwriter and bam, came up with this...movie. And you know what, I'm ok with it, it's so ridiculous.
There is no way Michael Mann or Daniel Day-Lewis would lose in the first round by themselves. Put them together and forget about it. The Bodyguard never had a chance.
(7) My Cousin Vinny vs (10) Batman Returns
My Cousin Vinny is one of those movies that is enjoyable, but mostly known for one performance. In this case, it was Marisa Tomei. She stole every seen she was in and the banter that Joe Pesci and Tomei had made up for every scene where Ralph Macchio tried to act. My Cousin Vinny also rates fairly high on the rewatchablility scale as I can jump in at any time in this movie and ride it till the end
Batman Returns was the second of Tim Burton's dark, brooding and weirdly cartoony Batman movies. Much like My Cousin Vinny, this movie had a memorable female performance. Michelle Pfeifer as Catwoman brought the term "Batshit crazy" to another level. Danny Devito was great as the grunting, heaving, drooling, and utterly disgusting Penquin. And Christopher Walken as Max Shreck, got, how many great lines does he have? Or, does Christopher Walken's delivery make every line sound great? As far as a complete movie, this was Burton's best Batman film, and one of his better films.
As far as the matchup, Batman Returns is the better, more complete movie. Yeah, it's a little dark, but in a smiling while shaking your head kind of way. And I just love Michelle Pfeifer in that Catwoman outfit. Favorite line from Batman returns, "Eat floor, high fiber" So, yeah, Batman Returns moves on
(3) Glen Garry Glen Ross vs (14) Lethal Weapon 3
Glengarry Glen Ross is an excellent movie about not so excellent people. There is not a single redeemable character in this film. They are all salesmen, some spineless, some arrogant, some arrogantly spineless. This film also includes two great monologues, one by Al Pacino, while subtly trying to convince a guy to buy real estate, and one by Alec Baldwin. Baldwin sweeps in like a tornado, he's arrogant, wealthy and informs everyone that they are fired and have one week to earn their jobs back. It's fascinating to see how these sad sack salesmen react. This movie is based off a play, and its completely dialog driven, and the dialog is excellent. Jack Lemmon is pathetic and sympathetic at the same time, and, in my opinion, is the best character in this loaded movie.
Lethal Weapon 3 was actually my least favorite of the Lethal Weapon movies. I'm not a huge Rene Russo fan and I thought that she didn't add a lot to this flick. The Lethal Weapon movies succeed because of the banter between Riggs and Murtaugh and the old school action scenes. A lot of punching, kicking and gun fights. This still was an enjoyable movie but just not up to par with the first two and not even in the same league as its first round opponent. Sadly Lethal Weapon 3, you've come in second, the prize? A set of steak knives
(6) Waynes World vs (11) Patriot Games
Patriot Games was one of those ultra dense hard to follow Tom Clancy novels that actually turned into a pretty good and entertaining movie. Harrison Ford was coming into his "Don't hurt my family" prime and it showed. Sean Bean was also excellent, because he's Sean Bean and he is always, invariably, without a doubt, excellent in literally every role he's ever been cast in.
Waynes World is probably one of the top 5 best comedies of the 90's. It is also one of the rare times an SNL sketch was turned into a popular movie. This was an immensely quotable movie and its actually stood the test of time. If this movie was made in the late 80's, i think there's a chance it could be dated. However, being made in 1992, grunge has already exploded and the hard rock scene Wayne and Garth adore is becoming flannelized.
Patriot Games is a good movie, but Waynes World is a flat out hilarious movie that pokes fun at itself and is kind of endearing at the same time.
(1) Unforgiven vs (9) A Few Good Men
I gotta say, myself and my colleague Brian went toe to toe for three days over the result of this next matchup. It was arduous, intense, a little messy, and I think we were both a little disappointed that these movies were meeting in the second round, not the finals.
I think what is fascinating about Unforgiven is this moral dilemma Eastwood's character endured during this movie. Naturally, in the world of right and wrong, ideally, William Munny learns how to farm, is able to support his family and never gets lured into being a hired gun again. However, this isn't an ideal world and morality is a cloudy proposition in western's. What is also interesting is that by the end, the audience is rooting for Munny to revert back to his ways. There is a blood thirsty validation to his final revenge, both on his part and the audiences. The ending is bittersweet, as Munny has fully resorted back to the way he was, the only thing he ever was good at.
A Few Good Men is famous for hilarious lines, incredibly famous lines, tangents, one character setting back the women's lib movement a decade and a rewatchability factor that is absolutely through the roof. It also contains an argument, which is at the crux of the movie, which, in essence is a clash between multiple opposing idealogies. My favorite line from this movie is what the division is about, "I have neither the time or the inclination to explain myself to a man who sleeps under the blanket of freedom I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it." It's the end justifies the means argument, and although Aaron Sorkin wrote the characters in such a way that you rooted for Tom Cruise and despised Jack Nicholson(In high level asshole form in this one). However, Sorkin did an excellent job of eloquating the "End justifies the means" argument. Nicholson and Kiefer Sutherland were pretentious, sexist, douchebags. In the end, the death of Santiago, in the long run, saved lives, but did that make it right? Rarely does a cheesy, highly quotable, highly rewatchable movie give lead to such an ethical discussion. I respect that. A Few Good Men also gets props, or knocks, depends on your view, for creating the patented West Wing walking down the hallway while a conversation is occurring scene. This was created by Rob Reiner to add some physical activitity to a seen and copied ad nauseum afterwards. The lesson, as always, Rob Reiner is the fucking man.
This was a brutally hard decision. But in the end, A Few Good Men advances because it’s so damn rewatchable. Cheers to the two best movies of 1992, I hate to see Unforgiven go so soon, but such is the rules of our seeding. Onward we go.
(4) Aladdin vs (5) Malcom X
Disney vs Spike Lee. Denzel Washington vs Aladdin. Angela Bassett vs Jasmine. Speaking of Jasmine I am going to go on a little bit of tangent here. As far as I’m concerned Jasmine was the best looking princess that Disney had. Better than Aurora from Sleeping Beauty, Ariel from Little Mermaid, Belle from Beauty and the Beast, and don’t even get me started on that frumpy Snow White. Jasmine had the looks, the personality, the brains. She had it all. My six year old self had quite a crush on a cartoon. Maybe that is why I’m still single.
Anyways back to the movies. Malcom X was a fantastic movie but I can not advance it past Aladdin for a couple reasons. The first reason is the ever present rewatchablity factor. Go ask anyone who was born in the 1980s which movie they would rather see and I would venture a guess that 70% would say Aladdin. The other reason is just the quality of the movie. Spike Lee had not yet found his niche yet in his directing mode which he would find later, and Disney was on a roll. They were cranking out hit after hit after hit and haven’t stopped since.
The secondary characters were great for Aladdin too. You had Abu, Iago and the Sultan. All hilarious. And let us not forget the Genie. Robin Williams was so funny in that role they made two more movies just so they could get more Genie to the masses. Add to the fact that “A Whole New World” is the best Disney song ever and you have a movie that makes the Final Four.
(2) Last of the Mohicans vs (10) Batman Returns
Frankly I think that Last of the Mohicans got an easy draw to the Final Four. Don’t get me wrong Batman Returns is a good movie but it does not hold a candle to the Mohicans. Yes, Max Shrek might be one of the better characters in all of Batman lore but it isn’t on the same level.
The great thing about Last of the Mohicans is that Michael Mann really makes you feel empathetic towards Daniel Day-Lewis’ character. Even though he is killing all of these American soldiers he is so lonely. He takes out the fact that is the only one left by killing everyone in his path. He welcomes death. He knows that this will only end one way for him and then he will join his brethren, and he just wants to take out as many of the enemy as he can.
One more thing about Last of the Mohicans. I heard the theme song “Promentory” just a little bit ago and I felt like I wanted to go out and attack some people myself. That song is just so perfect for the movie. It is all strings and percussion. The main instrument you hear is the Violin going low and some slight percussion. And then it crescendo’s into full on orchestra that will make you want to run thru a wall. That is all you need for a great song.
(3) Glen Garry Glen Ross vs (6) Waynes World
Glengarry Glen Ross kind of reminds me of a Cohen Brothers movie in that it might show too accurate a side of humanity. The movie is plenty entertaining(The dialog guarantees that), but it also shines a light on some pathetic characters. However, the dialog is, I can't overstate this, fantastic. Their is a flow to the speech, like some of the characters are on a mental autopilot. Ricky Roma(Al Pacino) is the only character with a certifiable, logic driven pulse. Glengarry Glen Ross is a collection of great scenes, and is a highly entertaining movie, that leaves you feeling no better for the future of humanity.
Waynes World is quite the opposite. The movie is hilarious and uplifting(once they pick the right ending). Rob Lowe plays the perfect smarmy jerk, Tia Carrere is the beautiful lead singer who sees past all of Wayne's flaws(Bad haircut, lives with his parents, doesn't have a job) and their relationship is amusing. And how about Lara Flynn Boyle's little bit part as the epitome of a stage 5 clinger fifteen years before Wedding Crashers ever hit the screen? The humor in Waynes World isn't cheap, and when it is, its on purpose.
This matchup comes down to one movie that leaves you feeling kind of bad, and one movie that leaves you feeling pretty good. I'm going with the good, party on Wayne.
(9) A Few Good Men vs (4) Aladdin
At this point, what's there to say about A Few Good Men that hasn't been said already? How about influence? This movie inspired a full decade of court room drama movies and television shows. Rarely has a movie made the inside of a courtroom seem so interesting. I am convinced this movie started the craze of the audience being interested in shows and movies that demistified certain areas of life and spoke them in relatively simple terms. In the 90's, these were the legal world/courtroom and the ER/hospitals. Now it's escalated into countless Law and Order and CSI episodes about criminal investigations, a downgrade in my opinion. The Practice/ER/NYPD Blue, were all great shows. So yeah, A Few Good Men turned out to be a hell of a trendsetter.
Aladdin is a simply magical movie. This was back when Disney had its fastball, no, not just a good fastball, we are talking Randy Johnson in 1995 with a 99 mph heater with wicked movement. “A Whole New World” is definitely in the pantheon of great Disney songs and the whole story is classic Disney. Kids are still going to be watchin this movie years from now.
Overall, A Few Good Men is a more entertaining movie for a man of my tastes(an adult) and Aladdin, although a great movie, just doesn’t draw me in like A Few Good Men. Tough decision though.
(2) Last of the Mohicans vs (6) Waynes World
I feel like these two clips encompass their respective movies pretty well. You have the raw emotion of Mohicans and you have the hilarity that is Waynes World. So which one of these movies takes it and makes it to the finals.
I love Waynes World as much as the next guy but I can’t get it past Mohicans. The raw emotion that you see from Daniel Day-Lewis and the rest of the cast you just don’t see in Waynes world. Don’t get me wrong I like Rob Lowe but he just doesn’t bring the same heat that Mohicans does.
(9) A Few Good Men vs (2) Last of the Mohicans
And here we are at the championship matchup. This matchup is a tough one but it is not as bad as tough as the second round. The matchup between A Few Good Men and Unforgiven took us three days to figure out who to win. This one did not take as long. While Last of the Mohicans was a movie that left me speechless the first time I saw it, it does not win here.
The reason why A Few Good Men wins the whole thing is simple. There are no bad scenes and no bad characters. From the confusion of Louden Downey to the staunch belief of Harold Dawson that he did nothing wrong to the judge being confident when he had to be, the minor characters played a huge role. The whole team of Lt Commander Galloway, Lt Kaffee and Lt Sam Weinberg all played their roles so well. Kaffee was the cocky attorney that needed to be knocked down a few pegs, Weinberg played the cool cucumber and Galloway played the bridge between the two.
The Last of the Mohicans was a great movie but it did not have the amount of sheer brilliance of characters that A Few Good Men has. A Few Good Men becomes the first non #1 seed to win one of our brackets as it takes down the big honchos in this movie and takes the crown.
Oh and here is a link to the best interrogation scene in movie history.